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Polymorphisms that alter UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) activities have been identified. Mutations in the promoter of the UGT1A1 gene (UGT1A1*28), resulting in 5, 7 or 8, instead of 6 thymine-adenine (TA) repeats, alter bilirubin conjugation. Two missense mutations on one allele of UGT1A6 (UGT1A6*2) result in T181A and R184S amino acid substitutions and reduced activity against phenolics, such as 4-nitrophenol, 4-hydroxycoumarin and butylated hydroxy anisole. We determined the frequency of these polymorphisms in 245 healthy men and women, aged 20–40 years and examined the relationship between TA repeat number and serum bilirubin concentrations in a subset of 24 Asians and 169 Caucasians. The frequencies of the UGT1A1*28 genotypes were 0.537, 0.348, 0.098, 0.008 and 0.008 for promoter TA repeats 6/6, 6/7, 7/7, 5/6 and 6/8, respectively. Both allele and genotype frequencies varied by race (P < 0.02), with 11% of the Caucasians and none of the Asians having the 7/7 genotype. Within both ethnic groups, serum bilirubin increased with increased numbers of UGT1A1 promoter TA repeats (P = 0.0001). However, a strong ethnic group-by-UGT1A14 genotype interaction suggests that additional ethnic differences in bilirubin metabolism contribute to observed bilirubin concentrations. Genotype frequencies for UGT1A6*2 were 0.478, 0.392, 0.029, 0.090, 0.012 for wild-type (wt)/wt, wt/T181A + R184S, wt/R184S, T181A + R184S/T181A + R184S and T181A+R184S/R184S, respectively. The co-occurrence of polymorphisms in UGT1A1 and UGT1A6 differed from that expected (P < 0.0001): individuals homozygous wild-type for UGT1A1 and UGT1A6 were observed at twice the expected frequency; individuals homozygous variant for both genes were ten-fold more frequent and individuals homozygous wild-type for one gene and homozygous variant for the other were ten-fold less frequent than expected. Overall, 8% were homozygous variant for both UGT1 polymorphisms and 43% had at least one variant allele for both UGT1A1*28 and UGT1A6*2. These highly prevalent polymorphisms, which result in modified expression and activity of UGTs, may influence susceptibility to cancers associated with altered metabolism of endogenous and Xenobiotic compounds.